Things I should’ve watched… but haven’t

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BoyleOne of the things that astonishes me the most about cinema isn’t so much the films I have seen, but the films that I haven’t seen. Or, to be more precise, the amount of films that I have yet to see.

Even if one limits cinema to just the English-language aspect, there are thousands upon thousands of worthy films that I have yet to see, and most I will probably never get around to seeing. Even as someone who has been fascinated and devoted to cinema since a young age, it’s always felt I’ve never seen enough films as I should’ve. And now well into adulthood and with the responsibilities and requirements that entails, the time to watch films seems less than ever.

Despite all that, there are holes in my film-viewing experience that are inexplicable, even embarrassing. Not just individual films, but directors and genres that I’ve watched far less than I should’ve.

Now, seven years into this site, now is as good a time as any for us regular contributors to confess what parts of cinema we’re a bit embarrassed as to not have viewed as yet.

The one that stands out for me is that I’ve never actually watched a Danny Boyle directed film, something I only realised this week when I saw mention of his latest film ‘Trance’ within the media. It occurred to me that despite being a highly-acclaimed filmmaker for over 15 years, with early films like ‘Trainspotting’ having a major cultural impact and won international recognition and the Oscar for ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, I’ve never gotten around to seeing any of his work. It feels a bit embarrassing, not only as a long-time contributor to this movie blog but also because people who know me assume I’m a film buff, and yet haven’t seen a film of a director that most of the public have seen at least one of his films.

Until fairly recently and even more inexplicably, I had also never seen a film directed by Steve Soderbergh. Again, there was never any conscious choice to avoid his films, I just never got around to seeing any of his work. Funnily enough, the first film of his that I did see a couple of years ago was one of his most obscure, ‘King of The Hill’, which I watched on a giveaway VHS tape (still hasn’t been released on DVD as yet). I’ve seen ‘Out of Sight’ also since, but there’s a heck of a lot of his film work that I need to catch up on.

So to the other contributors here (and anyone else for that matter), is there any gaps in your film experience you feel regretful or baffled about?

 

34 responses »

  1. I stated the ones I’ve seen that I regret not understanding. Can we state the ones we have no regrets not seeing?

    I never gave a thought to the films I haven’t seen, as not seeing a film feels more of a conscious effort to me than, say, not reading a book. Films are saturated in everything we see and do. The vernacular of films is so widespread, it’s difficult to not see movies (perhaps this is a specifically American trait, as Hollywood originated here, in New Jersey, I may add, until that ‘thug with a patent’ Edison ruined everything) but it’s difficult not to see the types of films you speak-of. I am greatly embarrassed for all the world cinema I miss on a daily basis simply by living in America, but how can I feel bad for what I haven’t seen when it comes and goes without being known to the American audience?
    So, unlike books, (where an entire author and numerous books can be discovered and one can feel bad for not having known it before), movie-going, for this American, at least, seems quite, what’s the word, cursory and therefore I don’t think much about any I’ve missed because I don’t know they exist.
    Did this come across properly?

  2. But on a side note, Marco…how have you never seen Trainspotting?!

    Soderbergh, okay, he’s self-involved and pretentious (except for that great informant movie), but Trainspotting?!

  3. I suppose it’s Asian cinema. I don’t feel like I have any holes in American movies–I can’t think of a director I’ve totally missed out on–but sometimes when you guys toss out the names of Korean or Japanese directors I’m like “huh?” I have a seen a good bit of Kurosawa, Zhang, and Wong Kar-Wai, but not the directors of Asian genre cinema. I would say that one of the best things about belonging to this collective is learning about those films.

    Oh, and I’ve never seen a film by Ozu.

    Trainspotting I can see missing, as it wasn’t a big hit, but how did you miss Slumdog Millionaire? It wins the Oscar and you’re not even curious?

  4. A different, and perhaps more interesting question, is what movies do we NOT regret missing. I’ll see almost anything, but I have my limits, such as nothing with Pauly Shore, nothing based on a Nicholas Sparks novel (and the like), anything from the Saw series, nothing with Martin Lawrence, none of the Rush Hour films, etc. The one good movie I’v resisted for years is Saturday Night Fever, because the whole disco era was an anethema to me. I might break down and see that one day, though.

  5. I will not regret missing anything made by the people who did Another Earth.

  6. Too many to mention. There’s even a great deal of “big name” stuff I haven’t seen: Gone With The Wind, Citizen Kane, Scarface…Wayne’s World 2

  7. A different, and perhaps more interesting question, is what movies do we NOT regret missing. I’ll see almost anything, but I have my limits, such as nothing with Pauly Shore, nothing based on a Nicholas Sparks novel (and the like), anything from the Saw series, nothing with Martin Lawrence, none of the Rush Hour films, etc. The one good movie I’v resisted for years is Saturday Night Fever, because the whole disco era was an anethema to me. I might break down and see that one day, though

    I’ve never seen any of these either, except for a few Lawrence movies. I saw Nothing to Lose with Martin Lawrence and Tim Robbins, the latter of whom accounted for my seeing it. And I also saw the first Bad Boys with Lawrence, but in my defense, it was a big hit at the time and I was 17. And I saw Life with him and Eddie Murphy. I see also that Lawrence had a small role in Do the Right Thing, but I don’t remember it and I don’t think that counts anyway.

    Looking at the IMDb Top 250, the highest-ranked movie that I haven’t seen is Fincher’s Seven, which I missed because it was released during a time when I didn’t want to see Brad Pitt in movies. That eventually passed, and now I think that Pitt is one of our best (and certainly most underrated) comic actors, even if he struggles with heavier drama.

    On the whole, though, I don’t have really huge gaps in what I’ve seen, although I think it would be fair to say that my film knowledge is broader than it is deep. For example, I can’t think off-hand of well-known and acclaimed directors that I’ve skipped completely, but there are a lot of whom I’ve only seen a film or two.
    And when you get into deep genre, especially in terms of stuff with cult appeal, I’m almost completely ignorant.

  8. I was just saying the other day, forget who I was talking to, talking about how underrated Brad Pitt is. It started with a discussion of Twelve Monkeys and whether or not Aldo Rayne (?) was a ‘great performance’. (I said yes)

  9. Martin Lawrence was great as a supporting player in the original House Party and I actually (seriously!) like Blue Streak.

  10. Martin Lawrence was great in Do The Right Thing, he was great in Martin, he was great in most all his early things, but even I didn’t like Blue Streak, James.

  11. The presence of Kat Dennings could get me to watch anything else made by the people who made Another Earth.

  12. For a long time there was a Woody Allen-shaped hole in my filmic travels, but that has slowly filled in over the last decade or so. After ignoring my queue in March I was sent 2 of his movies in the past week and watched them both (Radio Days & Manhattan Murder Mystery). Very different types of movies but I really liked them both. I laughed so hard at the poker lesson & claustrophobic elevator scenes last night in MMM I thought I was going to wake the kids up.

    I haven’t seen very many of his films (at least it seems like I haven’t) but, other than his London phase, I have thoroughly enjoyed them all. Sweet & Lowdown was the first one that I saw and I have been ping-ponging around throughout his 80s, 90s & 00s oeuvre ever since.

    Still plenty of big titles I haven’t seen (such as the Oscar winner Annie Hall) but I’m sure they’ll bubble up to the top of my queue one of these years.

  13. The film highest on the IMDB list that I haven’t seen is American History X. Usually I all the Oscar nominations, but I missed that one. Second is The Intouchables, which was released just last year. Those are the only 2 in the top 75 I haven’t seen.

  14. A different, and perhaps more interesting question, is what movies do we NOT regret missing. I’ll see almost anything, but I have my limits, such as nothing with Pauly Shore, nothing based on a Nicholas Sparks novel (and the like), anything from the Saw series, nothing with Martin Lawrence, none of the Rush Hour films, etc. The one good movie I’v resisted for years is Saturday Night Fever, because the whole disco era was an anethema to me. I might break down and see that one day, though.

    I remember you said in a thread a few years back that you refused to watch ‘Team America; World Police’ because Parker/Stone’s political viewpoints. Is that still the case?

    For mine, I was generally a fan of Tarantino’s work from the 1990s but I saw the first ‘Kill Bill’ film at the cinema and it was such a repellent experience that no matter how much praise and Oscars his films since have gotten, I have no interest in seeing them.

  15. The film highest on the IMDB list that I haven’t seen is American History X. Usually I all the Oscar nominations, but I missed that one. Second is The Intouchables, which was released just last year. Those are the only 2 in the top 75 I haven’t seen

    Not surprisingly, my list of the IMDB Top 75 films I haven’t seen is a fair bit longer:

    9. 8.8 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) 676,515
    12. 8.8 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) 701,576
    17. 8.7 Seven Samurai (1954) 147,321
    20. 8.7 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) 607,477
    21. 8.7 City of God (2002) 310,661
    22. 8.6 Se7en (1995) 551,040
    31. 8.6 Leon: The Professional (1994) 402,248
    33. 8.5 American History X (1998) 436,476
    34. 8.5 Memento (2000) 497,716
    37. 8.5 Saving Private Ryan (1998) 484,774
    42. 8.5 Spirited Away (2001) 212,564
    43. 8.5 Django Unchained (2012) 282,480
    46. 8.5 The Dark Knight Rises (2012) 573,103
    51. 8.4 Life Is Beautiful (1997) 207,893
    52. 8.4 M (1931) 62,338
    57. 8.4 Double Indemnity (1944) 59,438
    59. 8.4 Toy Story 3 (2010) 279,651
    60. 8.4 WALL·E (2008) 378,530
    62. 8.4 Intouchables (2011) 168,620
    63. 8.4 Gladiator (2000) 531,110
    64. 8.4 The Green Mile (1999) 393,050
    67. 8.4 The Great Dictator (1940) 68,660
    69. 8.4 Lawrence of Arabia (1962) 118,435
    70. 8.4 To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) 129,020
    72. 8.4 Das Boot (1981) 106,893
    74. 8.4 Cinema Paradiso (1988) 81,920
    75. 8.3 Requiem for a Dream (2000) 338,564

  16. I just realised that another current director I’ve never seen a film of is Kevin Smith. While his reputation has dwindled over the years and he has many critics, I should get around to seeing some of his work one of these days.

    Martin Lawrence was great as a supporting player in the original House Party and I actually (seriously!) like Blue Streak.

    I actually saw ‘Blue Streak’ at the cinema – really don’t know why to be honest.

  17. Wait, Marco, those are all the films you haven’t seen from that list?!
    And Chasing Amy, Dogma and Clerks 2 don’t nearly have the good reputation they should have, in my humble opinion.

  18. I’m embarrassed by how many of the top 75 I haven’t seen.

    3. 9.0 The Godfather: Part II (1974) 436,579
    5. 8.9 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) 287,947
    6. 8.9 12 Angry Men (1957) 232,899
    13. 8.8 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) 395,871
    17. 8.7 Seven Samurai (1954) 147,333
    24. 8.6 Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) 130,365
    28. 8.6 Rear Window (1954) 191,110
    29. 8.6 It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) 163,791
    32. 8.5 Sunset Blvd. (1950) 86,082
    33. 8.5 American History X (1998) 436,537
    39. 8.5 City Lights (1931) 55,115
    41. 8.5 North by Northwest (1959) 139,963
    42. 8.5 Spirited Away (2001) 212,604
    44. 8.5 Modern Times (1936) 69,835
    51. 8.4 M (1931) 62,347
    52. 8.4 Vertigo (1958) 146,020
    54. 8.4 Paths of Glory (1957) 70,714
    56. 8.4 Double Indemnity (1944) 59,443
    60. 8.4 The Lives of Others (2006) 148,460
    61. 8.4 The Intouchables (2011) 168,694
    63. 8.4 The Green Mile (1999) 393,106
    66. 8.4 The Great Dictator (1940) 68,676
    71. 8.4 Das Boot (1981) 106,907
    72. 8.4 The Third Man (1949) 73,724
    73. 8.4 Cinema Paradiso (1988) 81,930
    75. 8.3 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) 49,979

  19. Marco, you’re not missing much with Smith. It’s probably worth checking out Clerks (and probably Chasing Amy) but you can comfortably skip the rest.

  20. re: films we skip. I pretty much refuse to see any studio (or for the most part: indie) romantic comedy. It’s a repulsive genre desperately in need of a shake up.

  21. The only Top 250 I haven’t seen:

    22. Seven (1995)
    33. American History X (1998)
    57. Aliens (1986)
    61. The Intouchables (2012)
    73. Cinema Paradiso (1988)

  22. I remember thinking that Dogma was funny, but I’ve never had the urge to watch it again. And I don’t think I’ve seen any of Smith’s subsequent movies.

  23. I think I’ve avoided American History X because the whole Nazi skinhead stuff disturbs me, no matter how it’s presented. But I think I’ll put it on my Netflix queue.

  24. I avoided it at the time because of the controversy about Tony Kaye having been removed from the project during editing. Had the whiff of a damaged movie at the time. Of course, Kaye has been all but unemployable since, but I’ve never gone back to catch up on it.

  25. I have seen American History X 4 times…if only for Norton’s ‘Dinner Speech’. His most brilliant performance.

  26. No, wait, the 25th Hour was his best. X was his most searing. (And the only one where he was hot. A transformation every bit as awesome (but far more unheralded) as DeNiro’s Raging Bull transformation.

  27. Have not seen American History X and about 28 others out of the top 75 (about 138 out of the top 250). As I said, too many to mention

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